Le Mans MotoGP: Petrucci wins wild wet race from Marquez

Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci sensationally won a dramatic wet MotoGP French Grand Prix ahead of Honda rookie Alex Marquez, while title rivals Quartararo and Mir struggled.

Le Mans MotoGP: Petrucci wins wild wet race from Marquez

A heavy downpour just moments before the race was due to get underway forced a brief delay, with the race soon declared wet for the first time since the 2018 Valencia GP. 

LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow held the lead very briefly on the run up the hill to the Dunlop chicane off the line, but it was Pramac’s Jack Miller who grabbed the lead at Turn 3.

A crash for Valentino Rossi forced his Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales, Suzuki’s Mir and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro to take avoiding action through the chicane – dropping the former two out of the points.

Amid the chaos, Andrea Dovizioso and Petrucci on the factory Ducatis had moved in behind Miller, with poleman Quartararo fourth but soon to come under immense pressure from those behind him as he struggled on his Petronas Yamaha in his first wet MotoGP race.

Petrucci found a way through on Miller at the Blue Esses towards the end of the first lap, with Dovizioso quickly following him through.

The leading Ducati trio quickly built up a buffer to the chasing pack, which was soon headed by Alex Rins on the Suzuki, who worked his way up to fourth from 16th on the grid by lap four once his medium rain tyres were up to temperature.

Rins then set about chasing down the Ducatis, and by lap 11 was under a second behind Miller. 

The Suzuki finally found a way through on Miller at on lap 15 at Turn 3, though was re-passed at Garage Vert just a moment later.

On lap 18, Dovizioso made a successful move for the lead on Petrucci on the run through the first corner and would resist a counterattack at Garage Vert.

The two Ducati’s exited the double right-hander side-by-side and touched at the following corner, while Rins launched up the inside of Dovizioso to take second behind Petrucci. 

Miller’s charge would come to a cruel end just a lap late when his Pramac GP20 expired on the following lap, while Rins would crash out of second at Turn 3 on the next tour.

This gave Petrucci a buffer of 2.7 seconds over Dovizioso, though his team-mate quickly wiped this gap out, while Marquez in his first wet race closed in.

Petrucci’s lead came down to 1.2s on lap 23, but Dovizioso started to suffer from a lack of rear grip and was powerless to stop Marquez coming through at La Chapelle next time around.

Petrucci’s lead remain intact across the final lap, and the Ducati rider made it across the line for his second MotoGP victory, making him the seventh different victory this season.

Rookie Marquez gave Honda its first podium in 2020 having started from 18th in second, while Pol Espargaro completed the rostrum on the KTM after pipping Dovizioso late on.

Dovizioso managed to hold fourth despite his fading rear tyre, with Johann Zarco fifth on the Avintia Ducati on home soil ahead of Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira.

Takaaki Nakagami was seventh on the LCR Honda head of factory RC213V rider Stefan Bradl, while Quartararo fended off Vinales and Mir on the last lap to salvage ninth.

Quartararo still extends his championship lead to 10 points of Mir, with Dovizioso 18 points adrift and one clear of Vinales.

Brad Binder’s first wet race on the KTM ended in 12th, while Francesco Bagnaia was unable to rival his Ducati stablemates’ form in 13th on his Pramac GP20. Aleix Espargaro and Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona scored the final points.

Petronas man Franco Morbidelli crashed out after dropping to the rear of the field early on, while there were falls for Crutchlow, Aprilia’s Bradley Smith and Avintia’s Tito Rabat. 

Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Laps Gap
1 9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
Ducati 26
2 73 Spain Alex Marquez
Honda 26 1.273
3 44 Spain Pol Espargaro
KTM 26 1.711
4 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Ducati 26 3.911
5 5 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 26 4.310
6 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
KTM 26 4.466
7 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 26 5.921
8 6 Germany Stefan Bradl
Honda 26 15.597
9 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 26 16.687
10 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Yamaha 26 16.895
11 36 Spain Joan Mir
Suzuki 26 16.980
12 33 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 26 27.321
13 63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati 26 33.351
14 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 26 39.176
15 27 Spain Iker Lecuona
KTM 26 51.087
42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 26 1'14.190
43 Australia Jack Miller
Ducati 19 7 Laps
21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 18 8 Laps
35 United Kingdom Cal Crutchlow
Honda 17 9 Laps
53 Spain Tito Rabat
Ducati 14 12 Laps
38 United Kingdom Bradley Smith
Aprilia 8 18 Laps
46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 0

 

 

shares
comments
Petrucci expects 10-rider Le Mans MotoGP podium battle

Previous article

Petrucci expects 10-rider Le Mans MotoGP podium battle

Next article

Podium in wet race "doesn't mean that much" – Marquez

Podium in wet race "doesn't mean that much" – Marquez
Load comments
How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021
How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win Prime

How Marquez beat his Honda in his heroic MotoGP comeback win

Marc Marquez has been through hell and back in the 581 days between his win in the 2019 Valencia season finale and his heroic MotoGP comeback victory in Germany last Sunday. Despite battling physical limitations and a difficult 2021-spec Honda, the Sachsenring provided the perfect storm for the Spaniard to return to the top step

MotoGP
Jun 21, 2021